Disney's Hollywood Studios is one of my favorite parks, but unfortunately, we visited when the park was starting to under-go major transformations. It felt like the park was a big construction site.
Next to EPCOT's World-Showcase, Disney's Hollywood Studios was the second least interesting for the kids. Actually, only for one kid. At the time of our trip, Zoe was turning nine and Felix was almost seven. Zoe enjoyed the thrilled rides, while Felix was a little scared. Disney's Hollywood Studios has two of the most thrilling Disney attractions: both a big hit with Zoe, not so much with Felix.
We visited the park twice, so as with my other trip report, I'm combining the two days. Let's start at the beginning, with the park entrance.
I love the sanitized, prettied-up version of Hollywood. I grew up just about ten minutes from Hollywood and let me tell you, the Disney version is much nicer! Although, the real-deal is much better for people watching.
Posing with Gertie!
Both our first and last ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios was Star Tours. We had watched the original Star Wars films with the kids and they were somewhat familiar with the characters and Star Wars universe. This attraction is great, because it's thrilling, without being too scary. We used a Fast Pass for our first ride, but just did the queue the second time. I love the Star Wars queue in Florida.
Speaking of Star Wars, we also used a Fast Pass for a character meet and greet at the Star Wars: Launch Bay. We had a choice of characters and decided to meet Chewbacca. The whole area is themed and you wait behind a door until it's your turn for pictures, giving your group one-on-one time with the character. I was entirely unprepared for how tall and intimidating Chewy would be. He was right at the door when it opened and I jumped back. Dan is very tall, but not as tall as Chewy and Chewy gave him a pat on the head, making us all laugh. Check me out in this picture, it's me still giving a bit of distance because he was so gigantic.
I think we underestimated how much the kids would enjoy meeting characters. The character meet and greets were a huge hit and we have pictures to cherish from the experience.
We had also watched the Indiana Jones movies with the kids and they LOVED them. Indiana Jones was a bigger hit than Star Wars. They had fun at the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, which we also used Fast Passes to secure good seats.
One of my all-time favorite attractions, a close second to Disneyland's Indiana Jones Adventure, is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I'm a huge fan of the Twilight Zone ( many happy memories of watching the 4th of July marathons with my uncle) and I love the whole theming of the attraction. It's so immersive. Plus, it's just a exciting thrill ride. We rode it twice with Fast Passes. Zoe loved it, but Felix was scared. I think more than the motion, the loud sounds freaked him out. He was a trooper and even rode it a second time, after we told him that I would sit it out with him. I'm fairly certain that it was his least favorite attraction of the entire trip.
Our birthdays are all within less than three months and so we celebrate in the summer. Dan's sister, Ali. and her family, sent us money for a sweet birthday treat during our trip. This picture of Dan, Zoe, and Felix is one of my favorites from our vacation. Thank you Higgin's family!
The other big thrill ride is Rock N' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. I'm a big chicken and it took me years to go on Rock N' Roller Coaster. YEARS. I was in my late twenties before giving it a go. It's pretty intense, but when I finally rode it, it was nowhere near as bad as I had anticipated. The kids were both a bit shocked when they got off, but then excited that it had been their first upside down rollercoaster! That's a great milestone.
We also had a fun moment in the queue, when my magic band triggered a personalized tour poster. This personalization of objects in the queue was something that Dan and I first experienced on our winter 2015-2016 trip. It's a magical addition to a few of the attractions and is exciting when your name pops up.
Ending with the tame: Muppet Vision 3D is a must-do attraction for me. No matter how many times I've seen it ( over fifty?), it never fails to delight and make me laugh. Is there anyone who doesn't adore the Muppets?
One piece of unfortunate marketing. The show was canceled before our visit, but the poster was still up. How was this overlooked? The wording is very unfortunate and appropriate.
We were sad that Lights! Motor! Action! had closed a few months before our trip. Felix is car obsessed and would have loved it. Dan isn't a fan of The Great Movie Ride, but I wish we would have done it, because it is now forever closed. I also wish we had done Fastasmic, as I think that would have been a big hit for the whole family. It just didn't work into our schedule.
We should have made sure to do Toy Story Midway Mania. The kids would have loved it. The reason we skipped it is because we couldn't get a Fast Pass for it. The Fast Pass Plus system at Disney's Hollywood Studios is broken into two tiers, with more popular rides in one tier and less popular ones in another. You are not allowed Fast Passes for too many of the most popular attractions, which is fair enough. So it's really more we prioritized other attractions and didn't select Toy Story Midway Mania.
I'm not a fan of the Fast Pass system and I wish we could go back to the days of just waiting for what you want to ride. However, my family is a fan of Fast Pass and would rather skip a ride, than wait in a queue. I've done everything in the parks many times, so I went along with the majority. We really skipped too much at this park. To do it over again, I would have allowed another half-day to our tour plans. My other advice, is to make sure to do a dining experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. We should have booked Sci-Fi Dine-in or 50's Prime Time Cafe, both uber themed and great for the kids.
We just caught this park in a transition period. The new Toy Story Land looks awesome and I know that the Star Wars expansion will be amazing. I hope we can return to WDW soon!